TOOWOOMBA Regional Council candidates are changing their campaign strategies while election forums are being canned, following concerns around coronavirus.
The Darling Downs Environment Council was one of several groups to cancel its candidate forum that was scheduled for tonight.
The Oakey Chamber of Commerce also cancelled its event slated for this week, while the Westbrook Focus Group has also delayed its Wednesday forum until the risk passes.
Early voting began today across the Toowoomba region, with plenty of people turning up to beat the March 28 crowds.
Several candidates have announced they won’t be handing out election material or exposing volunteers to unnecessary human contact.
Cr Bill Cahill revealed he would now not be manning any booths on election day or handing out how-to-vote cards.
“I’m not handing out election material and at this stage I won’t be manning polling booths with family, friends and volunteers to minimise the potential risk to families, both mine and families in general,” he told The Chronicle.
“I’ve observed quite a large percentage of people pre-polling, who were in the high-risk bracket.
“That’s why I’m taking the position to minimise the potential risk.
“The thing that makes it personal is I’ve got a father with heart and lung problems, and members of my immediate family who suffer from asthma, and we are not unique.”
Mayoral candidate Chris Meibusch and council candidate Kevin Flanagan are also not manning polling booths due to concerns around coronavirus.
Council employee and new candidate Robert Relvas also won’t be using volunteers to prevent unnecessary contact.
Cr Nancy Sommerfield held similar views, saying she wasn’t manning booths or handing out how-to-vote cards.
Greens candidate Alyce Nelligan will continue with volunteers during the campaign, but urged people to practice good hygiene.
Ms Nelligan also said she was unlikely to visit booths herself, due to her condition.
Former international editor and journalist Rebecca Vonhoff won’t be manning polling booths, as well as cancelling non-essential meetings.
Community service worker Petria Grabham was at early voting today, highlighting safe distance practices to avoid spreading viruses.
Counsellor and former small business owner David Campbell also revealed he was possibly changing campaign tactics to further prevent the potential spread of coronavirus.
“Let’s do our bit to flatten the curve (of coronavirus). Please consider registering as a postal voter today,” he wrote on Facebook.
Deputy Mayor Carol Taylor highlighted that the Toowoomba Regional Council had requested a full postal vote last year, but the State Government opted to give it polling booths.
People have until 7pm tonight to register for a postal vote, which can be done here.
Early voting centres for Toowoomba Regional Council:
– Oakey Customer Service Centre, 64 Campbell Street, Oakey
– Pittsworth Service Centre, 85 Yandilla Street, Pittsworth
– Railway Goods Shed, Victoria St, Toowoomba City
– Ruthven Central Shopping Centre, Tenancy 4, 692 Ruthven St, South Toowoomba
– Toowoomba Regional Council, 25 Emu Creek Road, Crows Nest,
– Toowoomba Regional Council Millmerran, 2 – 16 Campbell Street, Millmerran.